Larpenteur Animal Hospital

1136 Larpenteur Ave. W.
St. Paul, MN 55113


Living and Learning with Dr. Julie

March, 2018

After an embarrassingly long absence, during which I was both living and learning, my spring resolution (you can make them anytime, you know) is to get back on track with at least quarterly articles. Thanks to any and all of you checking back in and don’t hesitate to ask me about subjects raised or razz me about the several year gap in between articles when you are next in the office or on the phone.

Today’s subject:

Web Sites I Frequently Recommend and Why

How many of us routinely check our phone or computers to stay on top of news (or gossip) or perhaps like my husband, check out that Minnesota weather? Well, along with a whole lot of cat videos, there are also some very helpful pet healthcare sites that can help to complement the advice and information provided by your veterinary clinic doctors and staff. While there is much hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing about “Doctor Google” and misinformation that is just a keystroke or two away at any point of the day or night, there is also a lot of good information. You just have to know who to trust and when to utilize your health care experts to help you figure that out. Below I’ve listed a few of the web sites I routinely recommend to clients along with some information regarding what they’re about. Of course, most sites have a point of view (or ax to grind, if you prefer) so keep in mind biases as you peruse but when you’re done with the celebrity gossip and “grumpy cat” videos—actually, Simon’s cat is my fave—take a look at these high caliber pet health sites.

  1. Ohio State University’s The Indoor Cat Initiative

This site was created by OSU veterinary professor Tony Buffington, a feline medicine guru with a special interest in urinary tract disease. The Indoor Cat Initiative has been available to us online for quite some time and it has developed a ton of great content on environmental enrichment (if you don’t know what I mean by that, you must look up the site!) as well as medical, behavior, nutrition, and much more helpful and fascinating stuff. It was designed initially to focus on the strictly indoor cat and to help owners give their cats a fun and cat-friendly environment within the limits of their indoor spaces but has grown to be much, much more.  Check it out and let me know what you think!

  1. VOHC -- Veterinary Oral Health Council

This is a site I have probably recommended more than any other over the last year or two. The VOHC is a group of veterinary oral health experts who evaluate studies done on oral health care products in pets and make recommendations as to the most effective. Dental and oral healthcare in pets is not always easy to maintain by the same methods we employ in the human world! Some dogs look forward to their daily tooth brushing and many like the doggie toothpastes out there but many others are not so easy. Many pet food and other companies have taken advantage of the focus on oral health in veterinary medicine to produce a boatload of products that are marketed as improving dental or oral health. Some of those products actually do improve pet’s dental health and the VOHC is a great help to identify those specific products. Take a look at their "Accepted Products" info for dog and cat products that have received the VOHC approval.


This site frequently comes up when I am asked for help partnering with a cat owner to formulate a weight loss plan or to develop nutritional recommendation for a diabetic cat. This sit e was created by a veterinarian, Dr. Lisa Pierson, a 1984 graduate of UC Davis in California as part of a vigorous attempt to move cats to an all-canned food diet. Dr. Pierson has great conviction regarding the advantage of a moist diet for cats and to that end she went to an amazing amount of time and effort to create a nutrient chart for a huge variety of canned cat food products. While nutrition information for pet food is available on the label and generally somewhat more on the producer’s online home, ingredients are often given as minimums or maximums, making it impossible to arrive at reliable percentages for protein, carbohydrates, or fat levels. Dr. Pierson contacted pet food companies directly and worked with them to get the level of detail required to provide all of us a means to much more directed nutrition for our cats. Her site has lots of information regarding cat nutrition and health, some of which I am not in total agreement with, but overall I applaud and appreciate her work in giving us an invaluable tool for weight loss and optimal health.